US Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus πŸ”΄ Briefing Today

US Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus – Briefing Today
I need to double-check with H on that I
believe that she has had a number of
consultations even though she has not
formally testified on that subject and
her resignation was of course dated back
to July 24th and it’s something that she
had told some of us that was was in the
process so I think that that was known
around the building but I will confirm
what excuse me what discussions she’s
had but I do believe that she has been
in touch with many senators without
having formally before the committee for
more testimony is very important part of
oversight sure um there have been
numerous reports credible appointees
that Steve Miller and his demands
regarding immigration and Guatemala in
particular but other issues had a role
in her decision she spent more time with
her family yeah I so I talked to him
about that she’s dressed that with me
directly and she said there’s absolutely
no truth to that the Washington Post
reported that there was an email from
Steven Miller she’s denied ever seeing
this email I know that she’s consulted
with other people who white house I’ll
let them speak for themselves but I
believe that they would offer also offer
similar denials and you know Kim has
been here 27 months it’s I know I’ve
been on two trips with her already in
the four and a half months that I’ve
been here it’s demanding it’s really
grueling and I think unfortunately where
we are losing one of the best and
brightest that we have that she’s moving
on but I think that she has indicated to
everyone and to me personally I’ve
spoken to her multiple times over the
past few days that this is something
that she had planned in the works for
for several months now was she felt like
it was time for her to move on I mean
it’s at a critical time and sure the
secretary positions are vacant or acting
and number of key regions yeah in fact I
think Kim was left hanging in the Senate
for many months I don’t remember the
exact number of months but in the two
years that she was here she spent
probably way longer waiting in the
Senate for confirmation that she should
have spent but concerns about the
numbers of vacancies I know SEC Jake my
mayor came and tried to fill a lot of
these position did and he’s been
aggressive now we’ve got policy planning
obviously you’ve got assistant
secretaries in key regions
acting’s and others how do you feel
yes I think that well first of all
there’s a 69 thousand I think amazing
people that work around the world for
the State Department
I’ve been lucky on several occasions to
serve at two US embassies with I think
some of the best and brightest diplomats
around the world and it’s an honor to
work with them and it’s an honor to
speak for them here whenever I do brief
at this podium
I think I’m sure that the secretary will
have some personnel announcements
they’ll want to find the right people to
step up and in either acting roles or to
fill these vacancies and it’s something
then I think he has been very attuned to
in the little more than a year that he’s
been secretaries of state and killing
these filling these key positions this
is a breaking news story are you aware
of the French inviting President rouhani
to the g7 I had heard rumors about that
yesterday and I don’t think it’s true
we’ll need to confirm for you but as far
as I as far as I’ve heard it’s rumors I
don’t know why he would be invited will
confirm but I believe those are just
rumors okay well we’ve something that do
you think that the secretary welcome I
think that the I think that the
president and the secretary have said
that they’re willing on multiple
occasions to to negotiate to talk to
Iran without preconditions that offer
remains on the table whenever whenever
the Ayatollah and whenever rouhani the
people that are actually in charge of
that government want to speak we’ll be
there to listen and then I just have a
follow-up on setting out that I wanted
to talk about was there was a letter
today from Nita Lowey regarding the
money that there’s temporary fees is
this the OMB that’s correct yeah the
question is has the has the State
Department I’m actually provided the arm
being with any details or response to
the letter that process is ongoing I
don’t know that our response is
finalized and speaking with the
Department oh and B’s coffer this data
and for
Meishan that you referred to is the
first step in some minute process of
course to determine how best to spend
foreign assistance funds and so I have
not seen the letter from from Mia Loyd
but but again this is the first step we
will of course comply and provide the
data and information that won’t be
requires of us I don’t know that it’s
finalized I’m sure that we’re in the
process we can certainly confirm when
that is finalized but again this is just
the first thank step in the process hi
good see you the Chinese Foreign
Ministry’s office in Hong Kong has
issued a formal protest over a reported
meeting between US consular officials in
the city and opposition figures mm-hmm
the statement man of the u.s. explained
the purpose of the meeting and a quote
immediately cease interfering in Hong
Kong’s affairs do you have anything
how did you characterize the first
sentence can you say that again it was
the Chinese Foreign Minister office in
Hong Kong but how did but what did you
say that they issued a you said read
your first statement get formal protest
yeah I don’t think that that leaking an
American diplomats private information
pictures names of their children I don’t
think that that’s a formal protest that
is what a thuggish regime would do
that’s not how a responsible nation
would would behave releasing any of that
personal information of an American
diplomat is completely unacceptable
that’s not a protest that’s what a
thuggish regime does and it’s
unacceptable reason for the thuggish
which is a meeting between I understand
the question this is what American
diplomats do every single day around the
world American diplomats meet with with
formal government officials we meet with
opposition protesters not just in Hong
Kong or China I mean that’s literally
happens in every single country in which
an American Embassy is present so our
diplomat was doing her job and we
commend her for her work so you don’t
buy the Chinese argument that because
Hong Kong is part of China even though
one differently that that this is
interference and in their internal not
only American diplomats do this is what
other countries remember the opposition
people in in Australia by Lamberty on
his recent trip I I was in almost every
meeting and I don’t recall that
happening I can I can double check to
make sure I didn’t miss something but I
don’t last thing are you saying there
was no formal protest at all there was
just this leaking of photographs and I
know I don’t know if there was a formal
protest my point is is that I’m taking
issue with the Chinese saying they
issued a formal protest when in fact
they harassed an American diplomat I
think I said that three times yeah I
knew agreement with Turkey that you
mentioned at the top yes ma’am
an embassy statement said there will be
a peace corridor and displaced Syrians
will go there you didn’t mention that
and neither did the Pentagon in its
statement so the question will displace
Syrians be brought into the area and if
so will you ensure that there’s no major
Democratic demographic shift and no
creation of a Democrat demographic
quarter that separates the Kurds in
Syria from the Kurds in Turkey so the
here the first part I checked with the
or I had a member of my team I should
say check with that with the Pentagon
because I know that they gave you an
answer to to one of your questions and
and I believe that the that the DoD
maybe just left off a sentence and
didn’t give you the full response so I
mean I think that we have the full
statement that’s posted on the embassy
Ankara website I believe the DoD also
has it posted as well and we can
certainly our team can make sure that
that you have a copy of the full
statement and what else was it that you
need from the internet will there be the
movement of Syrian refugees in Turkey
into the area and will you ensure that
doesn’t result in a big demographic
shift so it’s the u.s. position that we
do not support any sort of forced or
coerced reload
Haitians of refugees or IDPs if and when
conditions allow any refugee who wants
to return to their destination it must
be of their own choosing and must be
voluntary safe and dignified will these
be Syrians who lived in that area or any
Syrian can go there because six million
Syrians absolutely would change the
demography of that area it certainly
would and I think that any sort of
discussions in in fine detail on the
safe zone are still ongoing I think that
we were certainly encouraged that the US
and Turkey issued a joint statement on
something that the United States
government has been working very
diligently with our NATO ally Turkey on
and I don’t think I have any details
beyond that okay do you have a status
update on the cats of sanctions for
turkeys purchase at the s400 no and can
you say whether the recent Taliban claim
violence has had any role in the ongoing
you’re referring to the attack yesterday
yeah yeah I mean listen the attack
yesterday or any of these attacks are
appalling I mean they’re totally
disgusting and on every level we think
that the cost of war especially in
Afghanistan is too high and the violence
needs to end and that is principally why
ambassador Khalil Asaad has spent so
much time trying to get to a peace deal
because we want to get to peace we want
the Afghan people to be able to choose
their own destiny to be able to choose
their own government and we want the
word an end but can you say whether
they’ve warned the negotiators and don’t
acceptable weather did the negotiators
when the Taliban is that the question
yeah or just have there been any message
from the us directly to the Taliban to
that effect I don’t want to put any
words in Sal’s mouth so I’d certainly
need to speak to him but I can tell you
that anybody who’s representing the US
government is certainly going to condemn
both publicly and privately attacks on
innocent civilians can you confirm that
Matthew gehbert has been placed on leave
the accused yeah
I’m not able to confirm anything from
this I can
the secretary ten days or so ago in the
interview with David Rubenstein said
that the president had directed him to
prepare for the withdrawal of troop US
troops by the end of his first term and
I think he said in the follow-up answer
at that breakfast well I think the way
if I may interject I think the way David
US Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus – Briefing Today
secretary said was that though those
were the president’s orders to me and he
said that he thought it would be job
enhancing to complete to meet that yeah
I I mean I think that the president has
made that complete clear since he began
campaigning and just attack it always
complicates the assure I mean it’s
definitely it’s complicating and and it
certainly makes our job tougher but you
know at the same time this is why we
have this is why we have ambassador
Khalil Asaad and some of the best people
in the business trying to bring all
sides to the table and you know it’s not
just day I think we spend a lot of time
focusing on the negotiations that we
have with the Taliban but we’re also
equally incredibly focused on inter
Afghan dialogue I was with the secretary
in Kabul not long ago when we were
meeting with leaders of leaders of their
Parliament we met with we met with women
we met with people in education and
activists and he had the same message
you know which was of course we want all
people in all parties to be brought to
the table and I think many of you know
that my personal history with
Afghanistan and my own personal
commitment to seeing peace there and and
we’ve talked from this podium I think
the last time I was here about the
number of people even on my team who
have spouses serving in Afghanistan
right now and so this is something that
I think incredibly personal to all of us
it’s incredibly personal to the American
Morgan Ortagus – State Department Briefing Today | White House News
people were 18 19 years in we have young
men and women who were born after 9/11
who are being sent over there to fight
and I think if if the last 20 years has
taught us anything it’s that the
president is correct that we need to try
to pursue peace in Afghanistan and
that’s the goal that we’re working for
or did you just I didn’t realize you
have personal experience in Afghanistan
but they make could you just explain why
it was that you weren’t able to ask and
answer the question the the person being
put on suspension or leave just the
explanation as to why I’m not able to
confirm anything from this podium why is
it why is that I we’re not we just are
not able to confirm suspensions from
this podium ask you about climate change
in light of the another UN report when
the Secretary was in Micronesia he said
that one of the things that he tries to
do or we all can do is help nations
lower their carbon emissions is that
something that you’ve seen him brought
bring up in meetings with counterparts
he was with China last week mm-hmm did
he urge the Chinese Foreign Minister to
lower their emissions we’ve covered a
number of issues in China and I believe
we sent a readout on the meeting and I
don’t think that we had that mentioned
specifically there but I’ve definitely
been in meetings with them where we’ve
discussed this and I think that he said
to many of you who’ve asked him this
question he’s quoted the emissions the
United States United States emissions
drop at 13 percent from 2005 to 2009
teen and vist of course was at a time
when our economy is growing by 19
percent and I think the one thing that
the secretary is always stressed
especially coming from the private
sector that he thinks one of the reasons
why the United States has able to make
such significant gains and in reducing
emissions is because of private
sector-led innovation and that’s
certainly something that he that he
champions and talks about on that
statistic though the Energy Information
Administration part of the US government
reported that in 2018 emissions actually
rose 2.7 percent so is there any sort of
concern that the u.s. is actually
heading in the wrong direction now in
terms of carbon dioxide emissions well I
mean if you look at the AIA forecast
they say that co2 emissions will decline
by 2.3 percent and 2019 and so that’s
certainly a target that we hope to hit
yes sir thank you can I ask you two
questions on India and Pakistan I don’t
know that I’m going to do much beyond
our formal statement that we said that
you have certainly made ask so do you
Pakistan who you know I spoke to her
maybe about an hour ago
and we didn’t have a great connection so
I don’t have a readout yet but I’ll
certainly talk to her team we announced
her I believe I announced her travel
here from the podium I think we also
sent out a media note but we will make
sure to follow up with you and maybe we
could even have you meet with her and
when she gets back for a readout I’ve
certainly been trying to open up and get
all of you more access to our officials
here at the studio thank you for doing
that after Monday’s this is a non
Kashmir by India speech and in his own
Parliament has secretary prompt you
reach out to his counterparts in India
and Pakistan so we had a meeting of
course with Josh Rinker and ASEAN and I
need to I know that he has had a number
of phone calls I don’t know which ones
released publicly but yes I mean he he
speaks with his counterparts in his
daily basis and as Matt so did my job
for me and pointed out how many State
Department officials we have in the
region we have a lot of engagement ELISA
we have a lot of engagement with India
and Pakistan obviously we just have
Prime Minister Khan here not just
because of Kashmir that’s certainly an
incredibly important issue and something
that we follow closely but we have a
host of issues that we work with India
on quite closely that we work with
Pakistan on quite closely I would say
that we are as a State Department we are
incredibly engaged in Southeast Asia has
there been any change in US policy on
Kashmir no there’s no change on it no
and if there was I certainly wouldn’t be
announcing it here but no the Prime
Minister of Pakistan is calling it a
genocide in Kashmir does the US see any
human rights violation even but no yeah
I really don’t want to go beyond what we
said because it’s such a it’s such a
tenuous you know issue it’s something
that we’re talking to them
quite closely we obviously whenever it
comes to whenever comes to any region in
the world where there are attentions we
asked for people to observe the rule of
law respect for human rights respectful
international norms we ask people to
maintain peace and security and and
direct dialogue there are reports as
you’ve mentioned of detentions and
restrictions of residents and jammu and
in Kashmir and again that’s why we
continue to monitor this very very
closely okay application is prison
transfer center yesterday the increase
yesterday negotiation is not starting
yet right I want to know about that
second question is the defense secretary
as well I had mentioned to listen to me
United States are deploying so I’ll
start with espera mean I would refer you
to the Department of Defense into into
the secretary expert to clarify his
comments for anything that you may need
there we certainly don’t want to speak
on behalf of them I mean listen when it
comes to US bases and in South Korea and
those agreements this is one of those
issues that the president has been
incredibly crystal clear on right
there’s no ambiguity and where the
president stands he wants he said that
he wants our allies to contribute more
it’s certainly a reoccurring theme we’re
also I would say that we are here at the
State Department were of course very
appreciative of the considerable
resources that South Korea has provided
to support the Alliance a South Korea is
one of our most crucial allies in
Northeast Asia they will remain so and
they of course contributed towards the
cost of maintaining US presence the US
forces in South Korea but of course this
saying burden-sharing is a theme of the
president’s and it will be a theme of
the president’s as it relates to South
Korea as it relates to NATO you know
pick your pick your issue the president
wants all countries to share and the
mutual defense question with the
designation of necessary by the Treasury
does it prohibition on providing
services to missus includes barring his
access to the US social media including
his access to Twitter and Instagram I
think he’s still tweeting pretty sure I
mean it’s too bad the Iranians can’t
tweet you’re running people but yeah I’m
still tweeting okay and the second one
is that you mentioned that there is a
precondition still on the table with a
negotiation with the Iranians no I said
there’s no preconditions I’m sorry no
precondition on the table there’s that
with the missus arrived out of the
picture with the designation so who the
US administration prefers to be talking
with I don’t think that we have said
that we must talk to person X or person
Y in the regime we now request you know
to the Ayatollah into rouhani is for
their country for them to think very
carefully about how they terrorize the
region and to consider stop doing so and
if they want to talk about how they can
behave like a normal nation they know
and how they can be brought back into
the world and have sanctions removed
they know exactly who they can call and
that’s president Trump and he’s waiting
under phone call so any update on the
maritime security initiative
what is the latest yeah we had an update
yesterday I don’t know if you saw the
press conference with the new British
Foreign Minister in which they announced
their participation as well I think
we’re this is also led by by DoD and so
I’m not going to get ahead of any
announcements but I think we’ve had over
60 countries that have been in meetings
and consultations and and participation
and we will I think we will continue to
give updates and
and provide which countries are
participating on a routine basis
Michelle the Princeton graduate student
she way one marked three years now in
prison in Iran and his wife was here in
Washington today asking the Trump
administration to do more pointing out
that that you know the u.s. sent its
hostage negotiator to Sweden to get
rocky ASAP rocky out what more is this
administration doing
yeah the implication there is that if
we’re working to help one hostage that
we can’t help to work another and we can
walk and chew them Robert O’Brien is a
close friend of mine someone I’ve known
for years I know that he is working
diligently behind the scenes I think
this administration has one of the most
successful records and getting American
hostages released Robert is constantly
traveling and negotiating working with
these countries and this is something
that’s very personal to him to get our
American hostages back it’s something
that’s incredibly personal to the
secretary and of course to the president
and that’s why we have such a great
track record of doing so and we are
gonna continue every day that we all
draw breath here at the State Department
to fight for our Americans to get them
theater American hostages back answer
that you the administration considered
ASAP rocky to be a hostage held by no
that’s thank you for clarifying that
thank you Matt Robert is the head of
hostage negotiations here but he was
working with within the consular affairs
you can walk and chew gum at the same
time and the end of the words we can
work free one hostage she specifically
mentioned this guy in speech right
you’re not trying to say the Swedes were
holding him hostage
no no I’m sorry for him flying that
you’re right thank you being Sweden when
the Prime Minister had very specifically
said that their system of laws is that
the Prime Minister does not interfere
with their judicial system mm-hmm and he
wasn’t it offensive for the hostage
negotiator is a very specific mission
just show up in Sweden I think that he
went because the president’s
well it doesn’t make it appropriate form
a witness to Pakistan okay let’s go to
Pakistan after meeting present from
Prime Minister Imran Khan invited
Taliban delegation to talk about the
peace agreement between Taliban and the
Afghan war crime mr. Imran Khan
Oh is a president Trump yeah so how do
you see this progress connecting tall
one with the one government um I don’t
think that I have anything additional
really just to go beyond what I’ve
already said I think we talk about
Afghanistan quite a bit but I would say
that obviously the Prime Minister Khan
is gonna be incredibly crucial and
helping us with these with this peace
deal and with his peace negotiation that
continues and I think when he was here
in Washington the president the
secretary alluded to that as well as how
important that relationship will be in
helping us pursue peace in Afghanistan
it certainly is not a bilateral issue
between the u.s. and Afghanistan it
certainly affects us but it affects our
NATO allies who are there with us it
affects India defects Pakistan it
affects Russia and China it’s something
that affects many nations in the world
and that’s why I think you seeds out
traveling so much and working diligently
I think will do last question with Nick
yesterday said that Iran doesn’t see
more commitment from the Europeans to
give it the benefits of the jcpoa that
it would wondering what this means for
the decision to keep extending nuclear
waivers for the civil nuclear program
what would successive violations by Iran
cause the u.s. to reconsider the
decision to grant those waivers
I don’t know that those those two things
are ultimately connected the way that
you just connected them so I’ll take the
first part of what you said I mean
listen it’s the European we’re not a
part of the DCP way obviously we would
true so if the Europeans want to be held
hostage by the threats from Iran as it
relates to the deal that’s that’s their
business to do so
as it relates to the nuclear waivers and
their extensions I believe they were
extended for another 90 days and that’s
a decision that the secretary and the
president made together and if there is
another extension than 90 days we’ll
certainly let you know okay just one
follow-up on the onion sector because I
like you thank you thank you
German media is reporting that the the
German former diplomat who’s been tasked
with running in sticks from their side
has been I haven’t seen this he’s been
pushed out because of some anti-semitic
comments he made I’m just wondering what
your current attitude is toward insects
do you see this as a viable conduit for
humanitarian financial transactions or
would you rather the countries Germany
for example so I think and we’ll have to
look this up I think the last time the
secretary was asked this was at his
press avail with the German Foreign
Minister at Mass in which he spoke and
US Department of State Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus – Briefing Today
said at the time when he was asked about
it and again he could have addressed
this recently I will certainly
double-check my recollection the last
time he was asked about this he he was
very forthright and said you know if if
there are trades that excuse me there’ve
goods that are not sanctioned that are
being used in that facility then he’s
supportive of it and we can certainly
pull the exact language that he used
from Prime Minister moss
thanks everybody I’ll see I’m I may be
I’m reserve duty next week so I may not
be here but I will confirm with all of
you and let you know so if I’m not here
I will brief as soon as I’m back thank


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